If you are familiar with my game-playing habits, you know I spend a lot of time with “Call of Duty” and not that much time with anything else. One of the reasons this has been sustainable over the past several years is that Activision supports each COD game with a series of DLC downloads—which includes new multiplayer maps and other content—throughout the year after the initial release. And the first DLC release for the latest COD, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” is coming soon.
Soon as in January 27. That’s just over a week away.
These DLC—for downloadable content—releases are available a la carte—where you pay for each as they’re released—or you can buy the years’ worth of DLC upfront—a promised four releases—as part of the Season Pass, which costs $49.99. So if you know you’re going to grab all four DLC drops, you’ll save money by buying them upfront. As a COD fanatic of sorts, I do of course purchase the Season Pass that accompanies the new COD release each year.
And as a COD fanatic, I of course play these games on Xbox, because Microsoft’s consoles get each DLC release first, often weeks ahead of other platforms. So it pays to stick with the Xbox One or Xbox 360 too.
Even though these DLC releases also include a variety of other content, I still tend to think of these things as map packs, because that’s the real appeal to me: Between the November release of the latest COD (again, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” in this case) and the first DLC drop, I will finish the single player campaign and start getting burned out on the multiplayer maps that are bundled with the game. So by January, I’m usually getting bored, and the first DLC drop timing is just right.
(I may write about this separately, but this year I actually stopped playing “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” dusted off the 360, and started playing multiplayer on the three “Modern Warfare” and two “Black Ops” COD games that were released over the past several years. I’m not sure if that says anything about the quality of the latest game, honestly, but it does speak to the enduring appeal of all those great multiplayer levels. Anyway.)
The first DLC release for “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” is called Havoc. (Subsequent releases are named Ascendance, Supremacy, and Reckoning.) This initial drop will include:
Four new multiplayer maps. For me, this is why I pay. The new maps include Sideshow, Drift, Core, and Urban, and each appears to have some dynamic element, which is increasingly common in COD. It’s probably not worth discussing the differences between each, especially before I can experience them, but the short version is that this provides some variety. Each time new DLC is released, the game picks up new game modes just for the new maps, and then they’re integrated into the standard playlists over time. I need this.
New Atlas Gorge map. This was actually made available already to Season Pass members, but Havoc will include a few variants of the Atlas Gorge multiplayer maps, which is a remake of the Pipeline map from “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.” I don’t actually encounter this map all that often because I usually stick to Team Deathmatch, but hopefully that changes with the Havoc release.
DLC Bonus Weapon. This was also made available to Season Pass members previously, but Havoc will also include a new bonus weapon (and a variant of that weapon), the A34 Widowmaker. I don’t feel this was a huge addition, frankly, and wish all COD games had weapon types like the Marksman Rifles that debuted in “Ghosts.” (These provide the best of an assault rifle with the long-range capabilities of a sniper rifle in a single weapon. Much better than the directed energy weapons in AW.)
New Exo Zombies co-op mode. Ever since the Nazi Zombies game mode debuted in “Call of Duty: World at War” in 2009, all COD games have included a Zombies (or Zombies-like) game mode … until Advanced Warfare. But Havoc includes a new Exo Zombies co-op experience that combines this game’s exoskeleton functionality with the fun of fighting the undead (who also have exoskeletons). I’m not a big fan of the Zombies modes personally, but I recognize that this is a big deal for many fans.